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Interviews

INTERVIEW | Dane Murphy

18 March 2020

Reds Chief Executive Officer, Dane Murphy gives his thoughts on the current football landscape amid the continuing issues regards the global pandemic.

"I think everyone is experiencing the unknown right now."

DANE MURPHY

It has been 11 days since the Reds last saw action, with so far, two Sky Bet Championship fixtures falling by the wayside during these unparalleled times. 

The suspension of all football, announced last week as the world comes to terms with and tackles the COVID-19 virus has affected millions across the globe. 

CEO, Dane Murphy has remained at Oakwell and he tells us how the club have been dealing with the crisis.

"These are unprecedented circumstances that have befallen us, but we remain diligent and whilst we have board members from all over the globe - the United States, India, China - we are constantly in dialogue, communication lines have been kept open so we can relay to each other any important information.

"It's a unified group and first and foremost we are working with the singular aim, towards whatever is best for the club."

There have been a handful of ideas suggested and ways of moving forward, in terms of the beautiful game, thrown around in the media since last week.

Murphy believes the focus has to be around planning, but that the current 2019/20 season should be played to a finish on the pitch.

As he explained, telling us: "In terms of how to move forward as a league, I think in these circumstances all self-interest should be cast aside.

"This is about the greater picture. 

"From a sporting perspective, we believe the season should be finished, the games should be played. But that's up to the powers-that-be, such as the EFL and the government.

"But it's our belief that the games should be played. If that's behind closed doors, then so be it but I think that throws up a lot of other questions too.

"Our one caveat would be the timeline. There would have to be an end-date, as to when the fixtures would need to be completed by. We have to have a timeframe for everything, we cannot run in limbo.

"You've to think about player contracts, deadlines around the transfer market, player trading, and of course we have deals in place with our suppliers, what about our seasonal memberships? 

"All of this needs clarifying. How do you proceed as a football club, in terms of longevity without any timeframe to work within?"

Without matches, and with government advice regarding social distancing, football clubs are losing money on a daily basis. 

Dane feels Barnsley FC is in a secure position financially in the short-term. He does though admit that without external help, other clubs might not be in such a healthy position and hopes action is being taken to support the entire EFL structure.

"Thankfully, due to the way we operate as a club, in terms of our approach and philosophy, this allows us to be in a stable place to cope from a financial standpoint right now. We believe we can take on any waves that may come in the weeks ahead.

"But long-term? Who knows how long this will continue, but I do believe the impact throughout the EFL and its clubs will become greater and that some clubs will struggle financially.

"I think without plans or help in place, there will be clubs in trouble."

The club is currently operating with a skeleton staff, whilst those able to work from home are doing so. Meanwhile, the players were asked to train away from Oakwell and Murphy explained the reasoning behind this.

"We asked the players to stay away from the stadium," Dane told us. "We gave them some time off to be with their loved ones and they have individual training plans to follow, but they'll be back at the club in the near future. 

"It's difficult for all of us. When you aren't next to the people you want to be with and care about, especially during a pandemic. It's hard to judge the emotions of our staff, of our players. But we feel it was right to give people the chance to focus on themselves and to be with those they love right now. 

"For me personally, I'm in constant contact with my family in the states and that's been a good bridge. You know, I'd love to be with them but the ability to communicate has been enough for me at this time."

Our CEO - who turned 34 last weekend - wanted to assure supporters that communication will be relayed to them as and when appropriate, and that the club as a whole is committed to working through this effectively.

As he explained, it's about being 'on our toes' in what is an ever-changing landscape.

"It's a fluid situation and the first thing I do - as I'm sure many do - is on a morning I check all the relevant media outlets and try to see where this is headed, all around the world because this is relevant to us in particular. 

"From the board to the players to the staff, we have a really international setup here at Barnsley and so we have to be agile and on our toes. 

"We will continue to update our fanbase throughout and I want to thank everyone for their support and understanding during what is a really difficult time."


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